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Oh 't is from him the transport flows,
ODE XXXIX. How I love the festive boy, Tripping through the dance of joy! How I love the mellow sage, Smiling through the veil of age ! And whene'er this man of years In the dance of joy appears, Snows may o'er his head be flung, But his heart
- his heart is young.
Behold! — my boys a goblet bear, Whose sparkling foam lights up the air. Where are now the tear, the sigh? To the winds they fly, they fly! Grasp the bowl; in nectar sinking, Man of sorrow, drown thy thinking ! Say, can the tears we lend to thought In life's account avail us aught? Can we discern with all our lore, The path we ’ve yet to journey o'er? Alas, alas, in ways so dark, 'T is only wine can strike a spark ! 1
alas! no more;
Then let me quaff the foamy tide,
rea, the name of Venus, παρά το κεύθειν τους epwtas, which seems to hint that “ Love's fairy favors are lost, when not concealed.”
1 Alas, alas, in ways so dark,
'T is only wine can strike a spark ! The brevity of life allows arguments for the voluptuary as well as the moralist. Among many parallel passages which Longepierre has adduced, I shall content myself with this epigram from the “ Anthologia " : – λουσάμενοι, Προδίκη, πυκασώμεθα, και τον
γηρας κωλύσει, και το τέλος θάνατος.
Come, while you may, of rapture sip."
yours and mine, should e'er be still !
2 Snows may o'er his head be flung,
But his heart - his heart is young. Saint Pavin makes the same distinction in a sonnet to a young girl.
Je sais bien que les destinées
Belle Iris, que je vous ai vu.
And I full many a year have told;
Thou shalt not find my love is old.
How much his little age may be,
When first I set my eyes on thee !
Descend to be a slave to thee! Longepierre quotes here an epigram from the “Anthologia," on account of the similarity of a particular phrase. Though by no means Anacreontic, it is marked by an interesting simplicity which has induced me to paraphrase it, and may atone for its intrusion. ελπίς και συ τύχη μέγα χαίρετε, τον λίμεν' εύρον. ουδέν έμοί χ υμίν, παίζετε τους μετ' εμέ.
At length to Fortune, and to you,
I'll gather Joy's luxuriant flowers, And gild with bliss my fading hours; Bacchus shall bid my winter bloom, And Venus dance me to the tomb !1
ODE XLI. When Spring adorns the dewy scene, How sweet to walk the velvet green, And hear the west wind's gentle sighs, As o'er the scented mead it flies ! How sweet to mark the pouting vine, Ready to burst in tears of wine; And with some maid, who breathes but
love, To walk, at noontide, through the grove, 2 Or sit in some cool, green recess — Oh, is not this true happiness?
And while the red cup foams along,
Come, let us hear the harp's gay note Upon the breeze inspiring float, While round us, kindling into love, Young maidens through the light dance
Thus blest with mirth, and love, and
peace, Sure such a life should never cease!
1 Bacchus shall bid my winter bloom,
And Venus dance me to the tomb! The same commentator has quoted an epitaph, written upon our poet by Julian, in which he makes him promulgate the precepts of good fellowship even from the tomb. πολλάκι μεν τόδ' άεισα, και εκ τύμβου δε βοήσω, πίνετε, πριν ταύτην αμφιβάλησθε κόνιν. This lesson oft in life I sung, And from my grave I still shall
cry, Drink, mortal,
drink, while time is young, Ere death has made thee cold as I. 2 And with some maid, who breathes but love,
To walk, at noontide, through the grove.
Quid habes illius, illius
Lib. iv. Carm. 13.
And hast thou lost each rosy ray
And stole me from myself away? 3 The character of Anacreon is here very strikingly depicted. His love of social, harmonized pleasures, is expressed with a wa amiable and endearing. Among the epigrams imputed to Anacreon is the following; it is the only one worth translation, and it breathes the same sentiments with this ode: ου φίλος, ος κρητηρι παρά πλέω οινοποτάζων,
νείκεα και πολεμόν δακρυόεντα λέγει. αλλ' όστις Μουσεών τε, και αγλαά δωρ' 'Αφροδίτης
συμμίσγων, έρατής μνήσκεται ευφροσύνης. When to the lip the brimming cup is prest,
And hearts are all afloat upon its stream,
ODE XLIII. WHILE our rosy fillets shed Freshness o'er each fervid head, With many a cup and many a smile The festal moments we beguile. And while the harp, impassioned, flings Tuneful rapture from its strings, Then banish from my board the unpolished guest, Who makes the feats of war his barbarous
theme. But bring the man, who o'er his goblet wreathes
The Muse's laurel with the Cyprian flower; Oh! give me him, whose soul expansive breathes
And blends refinement with the social hour. 4 And while the harp, impassioned, flings
Tuneful rapture from its strings, etc. Respecting the barbiton a host of authorities may be collected, which, after all, leave us ignorant of the nature of the instrument. There is scarcely any point upon which we are so totally uninformed as the music of the ancients. The authors * extant upon the subject are, I imagine, little understood ; and certainly if one of their moods was a progression by quarter-tones, which we are told was the nature of the enharmonic scale, simplicity was by no means the characteristic of their melody ; for this is a nicety of progression of which modern music is not susceptible.
The invention of the barbiton is, by Athenæus, attributed to Anacreon. See his fourth book, where it is called το εύρημα του Ανακρέοντος. Neanthes of Cyzicus, as quoted by Gyraldus, as
* Collected by Meibomius.
ODES OF ANACREON.
Some airy nymph, with graceful bound,
In the bowl of Bacchus steep,
shrine, Wreathing my brow with rose and vine, I lead some bright nymph through the
dance, Commingling soul with every glance !
ODE XLIV.4 Buds of roses, virgin flowers, Culled from Cupid's balmy bowers,
ODE XLV. WITHIN this goblet, rich and deep, I cradle all my woes to sleep. Why should we breathe the sigh of fear, Or pour the unavailing tear? For death will never heed the sigh, Nor soften at the tearful eye; And eyes that sparkle, eyes that weep, Must all alike be sealed in sleep.
serts the same. Vide Chabot, in Horat. on the words Lesboum barbiton, in the first ode.
1 And oh, the sadness in his sigh,
As o'er his lip the accents die! Longepierre has quoted here an epigram from the “ Anthologia”: κούρη τις μ' έφίλησε ποθέσπερα χείλεσιν υγρούς.
. νέκταρ έην το φίλημα, το γαρ στόμα νέκταρος
έπνει. νυν μεθύω το φίλημα, πολύν τον έρωτα πεπωκώς.
Of which the following paraphrase may give some idea : The kiss that she left on my lip,
Like a dew-drop shall lingering lie 'T was nectar she gave me to sip,
'T was nectar I drank in her sigh. From the me ment she printed that kiss,
Nor reason, nor rest has been mine;
To make this spot his chosen home. The introduction of these deities to the festival is merely allegorical. Madame Dacier thinks that the poet describes a masquerade, where these deities were personated by the company in masks. The translation will conform with either idea.
3 All, all are here, to hail with me
The Genius of Festivity! Kwuos, the deity or genius of mirth. Philostratus, in the third of his pictures, a very lively description of this god.
4 This spirited poem is a eulogy on the rose;
and again, in the fifty-fifth ode, we shall find our author rich in the praises of that flower.
In a fragment of Sappho, in the romance of Achilles Tatius, to which Barnes refers us, the rose is fancifully styled “the eye of flowers;
" and the same poetess, in another fragment, calls the favors of the Muse “the roses of Pieria.” See the notes on the fifty-fifth ode.
Compare with this ode [says the German annotator) the beautiful ode of Uż, 'Die Rose.' 5 When with the blushing, sister Graces,
The wanton winding dance he traces.
“This sweet idea of Love dancing with the Graces, is almost peculiar to Anacreon." DEGEN.
6 I lead some bright nymph through the dance,
The epithet Balkon tros, which he gives to the nymph, is literally “ full-bosomed."
The murmuring billows of the deep
Now the earth prolific swells
0 'T is true, my fading years decline, Yet can I quaff the brimming wine, As deep as any stripling fair, Whose cheeks the flush of morning wear; And if, amidst the wanton crew, I'm called to wind the dance's clue, Then shalt thou see this vigorous hand, Not faltering on the Bacchant's wand, But brandishing a rosy flask,6 The only thyrsus e'er I 'll ask !7
1 Then let us never vainly stray, In search of thorns, from pleasure's way; etc.
I have thus endeavored to convey the meaning of τί δε τον βίον πλάνωμαι; according to Regnier's paraphrase of the line :
E che val, fuor della strada
Vaneggiare in questa vita ? 2 The fastidious affectation of some commentators has denounced this ode as spurious. Degen pronounces the four last lines to be the patch-work of some miserable versificator, and Brunck condemns the whole ode. It appears to me, on the contrary, to be elegantly graphical ; full of delicate expressions and luxuriant imagery. The abruptness of ιδε πως έαρος φανέντος is striking and spirited, and has been imitated rather languidly by Horace:
Vides ut alta stet nive candidum
Soracte The imperative idé is infinitely more impressive; as in Shakspeare,
But look, the morn, in russet mantle clad, Walks o'er the dew of yon high eastern hill.
There is a simple and poetical description of Spring, in Catullus's beautiful farewell to Bithynia. Carm. 44.
Barnes conjectures, in his life of our poet, that this ode was written after he had returned from Athens, to settle in his paternal seat at Teos; where, in a little villa at some distance from the city, commanding a view of the Ægean Sea and the islands, he contemplated the beauties of nature and enjoyed the felicities of retirement. Vide Barnes, in " Anac. Vita," $ xxxv. This supposition, however unauthenticated, forms a pleasing association, which renders the poem more interesting.
Chevreau says, that Gregory Nazianzenus has paraphrased somewhere this description of Spring; but I cannot meet with it. See Chevreau,
“ (Euvres Mêlées." “Compare with this ode (says Degen] the verses of Hagedorn, book fourth, ‘Der Frühling,' and book fifth, 'Der Mai.''
3 While virgin Graces, warm with May,
Fling roses o'er her dewy way. De Pauw reads, Xápitas póda Bpvovou, “the roses display their graces.' This is not unin
Let those, who pant for Glory's
charms, genious; but we lose by it the beauty of the personification, to the boldness of which Regnier has rather frivolously objected. 4 The murmuring billows of the deep
Have languished into silent sleep; etc. It has been justly remarked, that the liquid How of the line απαλύνεται γαλήνη is perfectly expressive of the tranquillity which it describes. 5 And cultured field, and winding stream, etc.
By βροτων έργα “ the works of men (says Baxter), he means cities, temples, and towns, which are then illuminated by the beams of the
6 But brandishing a rosy flask, etc. Sokós was a kind of leathern vessel for wine, very much in use, as should seem by the proverb ασκός και θύλακος, which was applied to those who were intemperate in eating and drinking: This proverb is mentioned in some verses quoted by Athenæus, from the Hesione of Alexis.
7 The only thyrsus e'er I 'll ask! Phornutus assigns as a reason for the conse
Embrace her in the field of arms;
rosy harbinger of joy, Who, with the sunshine of the bowl, Thaws the winter of our soul 4 — When to my inmost core he glides, And bathes it with his ruby tides, A flow of joy, a lively heat, Fires my brain, and wings my feet, Calling up round me visions known To lovers of the bowl alone.
Sing, sing of love, let music's sound In melting cadence float around, While, my young Venus, thou and I Responsive to its murmurs sigh. Then, waking from our blissful trance, Again we 'll sport, again we ’ll dance.
ODE XLVIII. When my thirsty soul I steep, Every sorrow's lulled to sleep. Talk of monarchs! I am then Richest, happiest, first of men; Careless o'er my cup I sing, Fancy makes me more than king; Gives me wealthy Cresus' store, Can I, can I wish for more? On my velvet couch reclining, Ivy leaves my brow entwining, 1 While my soul expands with glee, What are kings and crowns to me? If before my feet they lay, I would spurn them all away! Arm ye, arm ye, men of might, Hasten to the sanguine fight; But let me, my budding vine ! Spill no other blood than thine. Yonder brimming goblet see, That alone shall vanquish me — Who think it better, wiser far To fall in banquet than in war.
ODE L.5 WHEN wine I quaff, before my eyes Dreams of poetic glory rise; 6 the same character, are merely chansons à boire, - the effusions probably of the moment of conviviality, and afterwards sung, we may imagine, with rapture throughout Greece. But that interesting association, by which they always recalled the convivial emotions that produced them, can now be little felt even by the most enthusiastic reader; and much less by a phlegmatic grammarian, who sees nothing in them but dialects and particles.
4 Who, with the sunshine of the bowl,
Thaws the winter of our soul — etc. Avalos is the title which he gives to Bacchus in the original. It is a curious circumstance, that Plutarch mistook the name of Levi among the Jews for Aéül (one of the bacchanal cries), and accordingly supposed that they worshipped Bacchus.
5 Faber thinks this ode spurious; but, I believe, he is singular in his opinion. It has all the spirit of our author. Like the wreath which he presented in the dream, “it smells of Anac
The form of the original is remarkable. It is a kind of song of seven quatrain stanzas, each beginning with the line,
ότ’ εγώ πίω τον οίνον. . The first stanza alone is incomplete, consisting of but three lines.
Compare with this poem (says Degen] the verses of Hagedorn, lib. v., ' Der Wein,' where that divine poet has wantoned in the praises of wine."
6 When wine I quaff, before my eyes
Dreams of poetic glory rise. “Anacreon is not the only one [says Longepierre) whom wine has inspired with poetry. We find an epigram in the first book of the "'Anthologia,” which begins thus :
οινός του χαρίεντι μέγας πέλει ίππος αοιδω, , ύδωρ δε πίνων, καλόν ου τεκούς έπος,
ODE XLIX.3 WHEN Bacchus, Jove's immortal boy, cration of the thyrsus to Bacchus, that inebriety often renders the support of a stick very necessary.
1 Ivy leaves my brow entwining, etc. “The ivy was consecrated to Bacchus [says Montfaucon), because he formerly lay hid under that tree, or, as others will have it, because its leaves resemble those of the vine. Other reasons for its consecration, and the use of it in garlands at banquets, may be found in Longepierre, Barnes, etc.
2 Arm ye, arm ye, men of might,
Hasten to the sanguine fight. have adopted the interpretation of Regnier annd others :-
Altri segua Marte fero;
Che sol Bacco è'l mio conforto. | This, the preceding ode, and a few more of